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Photographer's Choices

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Photographer's Choices

Postby maverick » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:15 pm

Occasionally as a photographer one faces the dilemma of taking a photo in b&w
or color.
Before heading out to the Sierra personally I prefer to have a plan, though when
storms are coming through things change constantly, which may require me to change
my original plans, and adapt to the current situations.
Some pieces lend themselves to be in color, but others min's later may be better suited
to be developed in b&w.
One such piece was made this past year while backpacking in the Taboose Corridor.
The conditions were constantly changing making the lighting tricky, luckily having
digital as opposed to film made my decisions much easier.
Once starting back towards the JMT from Bench Lake there was a garden of flowers
that started sporadically, but then developed into a massive garden streaming up
and down on each side of the trail.
The views being blocked towards Cardinal Mtn., and Upper Basin by trees opened
up once near the trail junction.
Clouds sporadically passed overhead making the lighting tricky, as did the occasional
breeze that made the flowers sway ever so gently.
Finding an optimal spot took a few minutes since my excitement was overwhelming
and made me run up and down the hill looking for a good location.
Then my eyes fixated on a prime spot at the edge of some of the plants that would
ground my art piece.
The clouds where already building, it was only mid morning, and seeing this
massive cloud slowly move south towards Cardinal Mtn. got me thinking of waiting
till it arrived at the top of the peak, which would then cast a dark shadow on its
western face including the valley bellow which could be used as one of the building
blocks in my composition.
As the cloud finally arrived some 40 minutes later it was time to wait till there
was a break in the breeze, but 2 more things were still missing to make this as
perfect as it could be.
This had to be a cloud blocking the sunlight on the plants at the foreground, and
then the flowers further in the scene had to be hit by some sunlight thus creating
two bands of lighting(dark & bright), and this had to happen simultaneously. [-o<
About 15 minutes later the cloud above Cardinal Mtn. had not moved much, and
it finally all came together.
A shadow creeped into the foreground on to the plants, the flowers got lit up, and
the trees in the background got darkened enough to get those extra layers.
When at home it was difficult making up my mind whether sticking with b&w was the
my best decision since the beautiful green, and lilac colors where quite strong,but
after several sales it has clear that this had been the right decision.
This is a 30" x 40" piece, and is calibrated to my monitor for optimal color, and
lighting.
Also there are some brightness variances when viewing this once uploaded.
This small jpg unfortunately does not do this beautiful piece any justice, but hopefully
even at this size you will be able to enjoy it! :wink:
http://WildernessApertures.com/img/s3/v ... 8585-6.jpg
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org



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Re: Photographer's Choices

Postby sparky » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:54 am

Very nice photo! Being a nature photographer is skill mixed with luck sprinkled with patience. Thats the difference between a photographer and someone who takes pictures I guess. Thanks for sharing!
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
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Re: Photographer's Choices

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Feb 04, 2012 1:36 pm

I am still in the early stages of learning what lighting is right. Thank goodness for digital cameras! I will wait for what I think is the best lighting, but still take several pictures anyway as I wait. Sometimes my "optimal" is not as good as my waiting shots. But after reading your story I now know I really need more patience. I have never waited hours and that may be what it takes to get the best shot.
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Re: Photographer's Choices

Postby maverick » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:42 am

After looking at my artwork on my wife's computer, which is not calibrated, it barely
resembles anything that was described in my post. The dark tones in the foreground,
mid tree line, Cardinal Mountain's total western flank, and the large cloud above it
are not close to as dark as they should be. The bright tones, which is the whole wild
flowers section in the middle, which was elluminated by the sun, which is a key
component, and makes it such a magical piece is missing. :\

Sparky and WD,

Luck is always something as a photographer we hope for because mother natures
co-operation is a key component to our success in creating a special piece of art.
That said, preparation/planning, timing, experience, all help me recognize, and
helps in my reacting in such a way that will give me have a larger success rate capturing
these special once in life time shots, though not always.
Timing my trips around inclement weather is one of the most important things, and is
always a key part of my trips. The colors are so much more vibrant after a major storm
event. Not only do these condition offer major colors at sunset and sunrise, but the
storms activity itself also offers major, dramatic opportunities for b&w shots.
Won't get into everything that goes into the pre-visualization, scouting, setting up,
shooting, post processing, and printing phases here.
But here are a few tips: get to know you equipment! Know how to use your camera
how to use different iso, apertures, speeds, and know how they effect your photo's.
Know which lens are appropriate for you scene, for example wide angle is not always
the right choice, unless you have an interesting foreground, which may require you to
get closer to the ground to get the best angle. Longer lenses can make for interesting
shots by isolating your subject matter. You do not have to always take a sweeping, wide
encompassing shot! Sometimes too much subject matter in a pictures ruins its total
over all effect.
Always take a tripod, period! It is one of the most important pieces of equipment a
landscape photographer must have.
When you arrive at special location, take some time to look, and study the scenery.
Move around from the most obvious location, and from where most folks who would
take there snapshots from.
Know where the sun will set and rise, calculate where, and what the last golden rays
will hit, and set up accordingly, don't try doing this at the last moment (this is why
scouting during the day is so important).
If you plan to print larger that 12x18, than a tripod, remote shutter release, and
mirror lock up are a must to avoid any movement, and this is besides choosing your
lens, shutter speed, aperture, and appropriate iso for your subject matter.
Posting photo's on-line, or for small prints are are much, much easier than for larger
photo's because any mistake in technique are magnified many fold, and will make for
an inferior art piece that will be disappointing, and not sell.

Will be busy with shows, and exhibits this year, but next year I plan to offer backpacking
trips to the Sierra for photographers who are interested in learning about the in and outs
of this marvelous craft in the most beautiful place in the world!
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Photographer's Choices

Postby BrianF » Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:30 pm

Fantastic shot Maverick! If it looks better on your monitor or prints it must be incredible. Thank you for sharing
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: Photographer's Choices

Postby oldranger » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:17 pm

I think maverick's and other professional photographers photos are primarily the result of planning, patience, and artistic skill. If you read some of maverick's and sssdave's posts (among others) they have a clear sense of where and when they want to be in the backcountry for the particular type of effect they seek. Then they have the skill to recognize where they want to set up and then frame the photo. Finally they are willing to "bracket" a time frame in cold, wind, rain, snow to get that unique and wonderful shot enhanced by the "perfect" light. Having watched maverick work I realized that as much as I would like to take such shots the time to develop the skill and the patience required are beyond what my personality can accept. So I fish and I take snapshots and I am happy. I am also happy that there are many much more skilled photographers on this forum willing to share with me and others. I might add that I also appreciate the pics displayed by others who take snapshots. Some are just nice to look at, some are fun, and others have taught me about the lay of the land in an area I have not been.

Thanks to all who carry a camera!

Mike

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Photographer's Choices

Postby Cross Country » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:15 pm

I want to 2nd everything oldranger said. They are my sentiments exactly.
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Re: Photographer's Choices

Postby Ciocc » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:24 pm

maverick wrote: snip---->Will be busy with shows, and exhibits this year,<----
when will you be showing/exhibiting in the bay area. a schedule posted at your website would be great.
f/64 and be there an hour early.
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Re: Photographer's Choices

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:29 pm

Ciocc wrote:
When will you be showing/exhibiting in the bay area. A schedule posted at your
website would be great.


Hi Ciocc,

Some of my showings are private (exclusive), some are open to the public.
My showings are for any group of 10 or more people who are interested in
a show at my private gallery location, or for those interested in some particular
art pieces for purchase/investment.
Home shows for existing clients only.

If this is of interest to you than PM me. Thanks Mav
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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